Puerto Rico 2016 - 2 of 2: Love & Light at The Dreamcatcher
When we decided to stay in Puerto Rico, we knew we wanted to get as much out of the experience as possible. We wanted the luxury of a resort style hotel and the authenticity of a Bed and Breakfast. After experiencing the resort portion of the vacation, we ventured in to the real Puerto Rico.
When we were planning our trip, we knew we wanted to stay somewhere that wasn't just in the middle of the action, but somewhere that we could really feel at home. We wanted a small, well run B&B with people who shared the same type of healthy and wholistic lifestyle as us. We found all that and more at The Dreamcatcher.
Dreamcatcher came highly recommended by friends of ours who've stayed there in the past. As soon as we entered through the gates it was easy to understand why.
It's centrally located in the upscale community of Oceanpark, short walking distance from San Juan and the beach. The entire compound was designed by the incredible co-owners Sylvia and Stephan. Sylvia has made her name as a very successful interior/set designer and Stephan is a successful real estate developer.
The whimsy of the place is something that has to be experienced to be truly appreciated. We were granted access to photograph many of the 15 rooms that weren't occupied. I tried to take as many pictures as possible, but none of them really do it the place justice.
The details and subtle refinements are tastefully eclectic and implemented with an experts touch. Throughout the grounds the style strikes an inviting balance between bohemian chic and and traditional comfort.
The Inn was designed to be a wholistic, vegetarian oriented Bed & Breakfast. They offer daily donation based yoga classes on the grounds and on the adjacent beach.
There's an in-house vegan chef, who creates amazingly imaginative dishes. The smells that come out of that kitchen are reason enough to visit.
There are meditation areas and unique one of a kind furniture pieces. There's also a community kitchen (separate from the chef’s kitchen) where you can prepare your own meals from items that have been donated from fellow travelers. It gives you the sense that its all carefully planed out yet completely organic.
The customizations of the rooms is really what set this place apart. The spaces aren't just superficially different, like with a different color scheme a few extra throw pillows on the bed. Every room really does have its own charm and aesthetic.
Because they really do vary from one to the next, it's best to think of them as grouped together by size. Its a great schematic because the prices of the rooms vary greatly by their sizes. In the off season, you can get a great room for a steal.
Some rooms, like the one we stayed in, are relatively normal sized. Enough room to comfortably live out of for about a week without feeling closed in. I would say this size could accommodate about 80% of casual tourist's needs.
This was our room:
For the traveler looking for an extended stay, they have large live in suites customized with individually decorated bathrooms and art collections.
They have cozier, more "spartan" suites for the traveler who doesn't plan to stay inside for too long.
This room was really well done.
Each room is decked out with ice cold AC (thank god that PR heat is no joke), bespoke furnishings, new beds, reliable wifi, and no t.v’s. That's right, no t.v.'s anywhere. That part had me a little skeptical when we first got settled in. But, I realized after the first night that there was so much to do and experience, having a t.v. would’ve really been an unproductive distraction.
The Inn prides itself on being an eco-friendly retreat. They reflect that ethos by powering all of their water heaters by solar panels on the roof and enforcing recycling for all waste accumulated during your stay. All things we try to do in our personal life.
Even though they really pushed the wholistic wellness narrative, there was no skimping on the hospitality aspect of the stay. There was daily turn down service and a strong emphasis on cleanliness and customer service.
They also offer daily hikes to the El Yunque Rainforest and other attractions. The great thing about their tours is that they're led by a local who isn’t affiliated with a corporate tour company so he’s able to customize your trip to what most interest you. There’s a two person minimum, so if you catch him on an off-peak day, it can be a really personalized experience.
We spent our first day exploring the surrounding areas.
It was our first opportunity to get out and experience PR from the street level. I was surprised how similar it was to the states. They had every major retailer and fast food place you can think of. I know that sounds stereotypically American, but after experiencing the Rain Forest, the Bioluminescent Bays, and generally being exposed to the wild side of the island for the majority of our trip, finding out that it was pretty similar to every other American city was pretty interesting.
The next couple of days we were up bright and early to flow on the beach and snap a few pictures
In the morning we checked out different parts of the grounds and found new places in the area to have breakfast.
At night we lounged around and tried to get creative with the lights.
Unfortunately, the stay here would be much shorter than the last location. Three days and two nights in total. Since we knew time was fleeting we decided to make the most of it early.
We were a ten minutes drive away from Old San Juan, so we spent an entire day walking around and soaking up the scenery.
To my surprise, a good portion of the city center looked exactly like our home town, St. Augustine, Fl.
We were told this is because the Spanish conquistador Pedro Menedez oversaw the settlement of both areas around the same time. The similarities were really striking
*I’ll be sharing more pictures of this day in a separate post highlighting street photography in Old San Juan.
After spending so much time exploring in the heat, trying to take everything in, we decided to just relax for our last two days on the island. We lounged on the beach, took pictures, and just enjoyed the tropical weather.
We knew that once the vacation was over it would be back to the grind. So when the sun went down, we didn’t sweat it. Just bring some lights and get creative.
Normally we both wake up early. Vacation or no vacation i'm a frustratingly consistent early bird. But on our last full day we decided to stay in bed and chill as hard as we possibly could. We rolled out of bed at the late hour of 9 a.m. (eye roll emoji) and headed to the beach to get in some last minute shots and sunshine.
I love laying on the beach at the beginning of the week. There’s nothing like soaking up the sun in solitude.
Besides going out for breakfast (which we really didn’t have to do because Dreamcatcher’s is really good) we didn’t do one thing that could even come close to being exhausting or tiring. In 90 degree heat I tried not to break a sweat.
The last day was passed with some much deserved relaxation and rejuvenation.
But then we got antsy...
That night we got invited to drink with some local yogis who knew us from Instagram. It’s really amazing the connections we’ve made because of that app. Almost every friend we’ve made since relocating to D.C. has been because of our work on social media. It’s been nothing but incredible for us and this journey we’ve embarked upon.
The group was incredibly kind and inviting. And those drinks were stroooooong. Puerto Ricans don't play.
Can’t wait to see who we meet on our next journey.
All in all it was an amazing trip and one of the most throughly enjoyable vacations I can remember. In a just over a week we collected enough memories to last a lifetime. The luxurious resorts, the breathtaking vistas of the rainforest, the incredibly kind hearted locals, even our disappointing trek out to the bio bays (a story for another day). Every experience just incredible.
Normally I don’t care to revisit places we’ve already been. Its a big world and our time is finite. But, I can’t see myself staying away from the island for too long. There’s so much more to uncover and in our time there we barely scratched the surface. I left part of my heartin Puerto Rico, it won't be long before I go back to collect.